Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Random Thoughts

George Foster - June 5th, 2003
Bush‘s Gamble on Peace

It is time to give George W. Bush some credit for his oft-criticized foreign policy.
If the president‘s hyped Roadmap for Peace concludes successfully, he could spend the rest of his time in office baling hay at his Texas ranch and still qualify as one of the best presidents of the 21st century.
Okay, we‘ve only had two presidents serve in this century so far. Still, an agreement and implementation of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, as outlined by the Bush plan, would put him in a league with George Washington‘s role in our fight for independence and Abe Lincoln‘s brave management of the American Civil War.
If you think that such a lofty rating of President Bush would be an exaggeration, consider that most Middle East scholars outside of the U.S. believe such a peace settlement and the creation of a Palestinian state would do more to eliminate terrorism than any military operation against terrorists and their sympathizers we could possibly dream up.
George W. Bush didn‘t need to put his neck on the line. The past failures to bring a real peace to the region make any new plan a longer shot than the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl. Bush could have basked in the popular military successes that crushed dictatorships in Iraq and Afghanistan - and been reelected for a second term.
Instead, the president is rolling the dice on his political future by doing the right thing. At this time, a unique window of opportunity for peace is here. The following elements have converged upon this moment to give hope for a permanent Mideast solution:
(1) Israel and the U.S. were afforded a big concession by the Palestinians via the elimination PLO chief Yasser Arafat from any upcoming peace conferences. In their eyes, Arafat never seemed serious about concluding any major deal concerning the disputed territories. The hope is that PLO Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is serious about peace.
(2) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has shocked Israelis and Palestinians alike by discussing the “occupation“ of Palestinian territories. Most Israeli politicians refer to the 3.5 million Palestinians under Israeli military as living in “disputed territories“. As a noted hawk regarding disputes with Arabs, Sharon has helped clear a path that would create a Palestinian state and theoretically eliminate the critical reason for Arab terrorism.
(3) Also, a favorable timing for peace is present because all parties concerned are sick and tired of the continued bloodshed in Israel and the surrounding territories. Jews and Arabs alike want the killing to stop.
(4) After quick military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush can now afford to pursue peace without appearing weak on terrorism to his constituents. Also, he knows it may be decades before all of the above factors are in place again.
If the Roadmap is successful, an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians would provide Bush a triumph that has eluded nine previous U.S. presidents - a lasting Mid-East peace that will do more to ensure American security than wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, and Syria combined.
Let us pray that our president is successful.

 
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